Why fad diets dont work

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

We all know that fad diets don't work. But eating whatever you like, whenever you like doesn't work either! The key to dieting and weight loss is to find something in between, a balance of healthy foods, while still including some of the foods you love to eat. The problem with diets is that they are usually restrictive and difficult to maintain. Add to this the likelihood of fatigue due to low blood glucose levels, constipation, headaches, bad breath, and potential nutrient deficiencies and this all points towards the fact that diets are not a good idea. Cutting out food groups, such as breads, cereals, fruit and dairy foods can lead to inadequate intake of certain nutrients (Williams & Williams, 2003), which can lead to fatigue and illness. Diets that Limit food choices can also lead to binges and can precipitate negative eating patterns.

In an attempt to lose weight, many people move from one 'fad' diet to another, each diet promising significant weight loss in a minimal amount of time. Research shows that 95% of people who go on weight loss diets regain everything they have lost plus more within two years (EDFV, 2003). Dieting is considered a short term solution to a problem that is often made worse by this type of 'yo-yo' eating pattern.

Low carbohydrate diets have gained recent popularity, embraced by many high profile individuals and celebrities. Low-carb diets do result in significant short-term weight loss but losses are often not maintained long-term, and are therefore not the answer for continued weight loss and optimal health.

Sustainability is a major factor to dieting and a healthy food intake should incorporate changes that are long-term. Many popular 'diets' are difficult to adhere to and are not enjoyable. Eating should be pleasurable and it is important to consume a wide variety of foods for enjoyment and nutritional adequacy.

You can achieve major improvements in health and energy levels by changing your approach to shopping, cooking and eating. It doesn't have to be difficult, but it does involve commitment and planning to make your foods work for you, rather than against you!


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